At this time I will no longer be taking any new review requests or participating in any memes. There will still be author interviews, blasts, guest posts and occasionally reviews posted (as I climb through by TBR pile!!). Life is kind of hectic and I have to focus on a few other commitments before coming back full-time to my blog. Thank you to everyone that has supported me and I won't be gone forever. I will still be around on my social media sites!

CURRENT GIVEAWAYS


My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ARC Review: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry


Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Format: e-ARC
Source: publisher via edelweiss

FIRST LINE
(may differ from final copy)
Under siege, that’s what we are, Louise thought as she observed the mayhem beyond the church’s massive oak doors.

Princess Louise is considered the wild princess due to her tendency to want to only do what she wants. Her mother, Queen Victoria, tries many different ways to tame her wild offspring but instead pushes her daughter further and further away. Now that Princess Louise is an adult, Queen Victoria feels it is time for her to marry and settle down. Her mother’s choice of a husband pales in comparison to the love she had with her collage boyfriend who mysteriously disappeared. The two learn to tolerate each other after discovering her husband’s alternative lifestyle (which her mother knew about) and Louise starts to wonder what happened to her first love.

Stephen Byrne, and American who is employed under the Queen’s Secret Service, has been trying to uncover who is behind all the assassination attempts on the Queen and her family. Louise secretly asks him to investigate her lover’s disappearance. Throwing these two together adds spice and tension to the story that the reader eagerly anticipates when these two finally let down their guard and discover that they could make each other happy.

This light romance is a fun read. You discover more about Queen Victoria and the dynamic with her family. Perry sticks close to what history says the relationship between Victoria and Louise was. Louise was often very openly critical of her mother’s never ending mourning phase which caused tension between the two. The reader discovers that Louise was just a free thinking woman ahead of her time who only wanted to find love and live her life to the fullest. Due to her social station, that just wasn’t possible for her and she acted out in many different ways in defiance to her mother. With the added mystery of assassination attempts and  a missing lover, The Wild Princess leads to an entertaining read.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ARC Review + Giveaway: You Don't Want to Know by Lisa Jackson


Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: publisher

FIRST LINE
(may differ from final copy)
Again, the dream creeps in.

A mother’s worst nightmare has come true for Ava Garrison. Her son Noah disappears in the dead of the night. No traces of him are found and everyone assumes that he fell into the water. Ava, who has always been confident, breaks down and her husband commits her. Ava is eventually brought back to her home, Neptune’s Gate, which sits on an island. Ava is virtually the sole owner except for her paralyzed cousin, Jewel-Anne who is the only one that hasn’t sold out to her. Now that Ava is home, she starts to hear and see Noah everywhere on the grounds.

After thinking she sees Noah on the dock, Ava takes a plunge in the icy waters hoping to rescue him. Now the family is thinking that it is time to commit her again. But Ava knows that something isn’t right and that her son isn’t dead. With the help of a new hired hand, Austin Dern, Ava slowly starts to peel back the memories that she once thought lost to her. Is she really crazy or is someone trying to make her believe she is. Ava has her share of enemies around her from her philandering husband, Wyatt to her cousin, Jewel-Anne, who holds her personally responsible for her being paralyzed. The problems become more complicated when bodies start showing up, all of which are linked to Ava somehow. She becomes the prime suspect and her and Dern must figure out what is going on before it is too late.

Austin Dern has his own secret agenda and he never would have thought that Ava would be part of it. As his search for the elusive asylum escapee, Lester Reece, gets hot, Dern starts to unravel clues that Reece might be linked to Ava’s problems too.

You Don’t Want to Know has many twists and turns, and the reader is compelled to keep turning the pages to discover who is behind the dastardly scheme. There are numerous sinister characters interwoven into the plot, many of which are Ava’s own family. Once the climax hits and all the pieces start to fall into place, the reader and Ava discover the awful truth. But will it be what we anticipated or was the truth behind Noah’s disappearance something that was best laid to rest?
PURCHASE YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW

Kensington has so graciously offered to give a LIMITED EDITION ARC of You Don't Want To Know, to a lucky reader of my blog!  Open to US and Canada and ends August 6th. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Sixtus by Tim Kizer


By Tim Kizer
Publisher:Amazon Digital Services
Format: e-book
Source: author

FIRST LINE
“Are you going to just lie there and waste the precious time?”

Zack is a lonely 15-year old who seems to only have one true friend, Jeremy. Jeremy is a mystery to the reader. Is he an imaginary friend or is he linked to Zack’s extra digit that mysteriously grew back after Zack’s parents had it removed? Either way, Jeremy is not a good influence. Zach does everything that Jeremy tells him to do. Now Jeremy has decided that Zack needs to murder his parents and then go find some doctor that Jeremy has it out for.

While I know this is a short story, I really wanted more from the character of Zack in terms of character building. Creep factor is high and the gruesome details that are interjected make up for some of the negatives in the storyline. In true Kizer fashion the ending with surprise you. 
 

PURCHASE SIXTUS

Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Post: Creating a Novel by Bill Wetterman



Thanks for having me on Kelsey’s Book Corner. Room1515 represents the culmination of seven years of serious writing—critique groups, workshops and conference, and award winning contests entries. Having learned the craft, I set out to challenge conventional thinking with plots and themes that are controversial and sometimes dark. Selecting my genre was easy, I’m a thriller fanatic, particularly international-psychological thrillers with political storylines and aspects of romance and betrayal. Stories of anti-heroines pitted against the flawed love interests in their lives fascinate me. My novels deal with greed, betrayal, lust, and murder, all the things that make life interesting.

Three writers influence my writing. Tom Clancy’s novels, particularly Debt of Honor, are examples of well-researched political thrillers. He set the standard for me for attention to detail. I labor long to produce accurate scenes, detailed descriptions, and recognizable sites. Locals living in the cities I write about will relate the surroundings.

Thomas Harris’s Silenceof the Lambs stands out as the psychological thriller. I strive to produce the emotional reaction he produces. I can only hope to achieve his level one day. How can you not love Hannibal Lecter?

Finally, Stieg Larrson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo features the perfect anti-heroine, Lisbeth Salander. Her character is a model for me to play off. Peacock, from Room 1515, fits the template. Emotionally wounded, unable to attach, yet possessing the ability to act the seductress, Peacock becomes my ideal anti-heroine.   

My teaser for Room 1515 reads as follows. Pour one seductive female CIA agent. Mix in the most powerful financier in the world. Drop in ice cubes of betrayal and romance, and you have Room 1515. Readers love good hooks.

The one paragraph description in bookseller sites like Amazon reads. Ever feel unsure of the financial future and the future of the USA? Greed drives decisions, and greed-driven decisions are always short-term. Say a shrewd group of power players is manipulating the world economy to accumulate long-term wealth. They could rule the world. Don't fear the 1% against whom crowds protest. Fear the .0001%. You never hear their names. However, they exist. One man will emerge to lead them.

Creating a novel begins for me by researching the world into which I will drop my characters. In Room 1515, the settings are Washington D.C. and Great Britain, primarily London. The action takes place a few years in the future. I have the liberty to alter the surroundings a bit. I can put a new hotel in a location where there isn’t one today, and that’s all right. I’ve been to Washington and London. This helps. Even if I hadn’t, the Internet provides views of buildings and layouts of the inside and outside of each. I research every building, park, etc. for accuracy before I write about it. I research where domestic and foreign politicians hold meetings, so I don’t have an event in my book going on in a place where it shouldn’t. I’m sorry, but I love Wikipedia.

Once I’ve fleshed out the physical world and the mood of that world, I’m ready to create the tension. Yes. I have an idea about my characters. However, I need to have a world that is tension packed to drop my characters into that world. In Room 1515, I take the conflict in today’s world and make it worse. The world economy is collapsing. A group of rich financiers is causing that collapse for its own purposes. American sends a seductress to woo the leader of this group and steal his secrets. 

Now, I ask myself a million questions. What would each side’s motivation be? How could they achieve what they desire? Who could best accomplish each major task? Again, there is a lot of research. I have to study how the economy in one part of the world affects another. Having done the research, I give each main character motives and plans. Tension must increase as the story moves along or readers go to sleep.  

Ever read novels were the bad guys have no redeeming character and the good guys are Dudley Do-Rights? The real world is not this way. The more conflicted people and events are the better my novel will be. I mentioned the anti-heroine earlier. To put a true protagonist, loyal, honest, loves dogs, into Room 1515, would be sinful. I want an anti-heroine, a flawed woman pursuing the enemies of her country, until she questions the tactics of her own government. I don’t want an evil antagonist either. Instead of a Doctor No, I want to create a unique, sympathetic character with a noble purpose, likeable while being ruthless. Emotionally complex characters hold readers interests. 

Having established the conflicts my characters will face, I ask myself more questions. What is each character’s worldview? What events shape their past? What strengths and weaknesses cause them to succeed or fail? I research where the main characters were born, and if it’s important, the history of the area.
Once the character is solid in my mind, I talk to them. I show them the outline of the book. I set the rules. “I’ll give you some freedom in each scene. Surprise me by showing me something unique. However, do not Sin. I am God. I determine the outcome I want. Don’t change my novel. Enjoy yourself within your scenes. Sin, in the world of my novel, is a character attempting to change the outcome I’ve slaved so hard to build. 

Once I flesh out my characters, I’m ready to write. A novel takes me two months of planning, two months of writing, and two months of editing to complete. Room 1515 is the first novel of an intended trilogy. The novel stands alone, but works best with sequels. Between those sequels, I’m planning to release an unrelated thriller. By the end of 2012, I’ll have three novels in print. By the end of 2013, the number will be between five and six.

To buy Room 1515, go to www.bwetterman.wordpress.com and click the buy button for your favorite online bookseller. Or type in Room 1515 on your bookseller’s website directly.

Kelsey thanks again for having me as a guest.
 
 ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After over twenty-five years in the executive search business with Wolters Search Group, I retired in 2008 to write full-time. Since then, I've had some moderate success. Four of my short stories have been selected for publication by Chicken Soul. I have my first novel, Room 1515, available in eBook and paperback form. 
 
AUTHOR LINKS
 Website  /  Facebook
 
ABOUT ROOM 1515
International Thriller. A female agent named Peacock is sent on a mission to woo and win the heart of the world’s most powerful powerbroker. Her job is to learn his secrets and foil his plans. Instead, she falls in love. A story of the balance of world financial power, betrayal, and romance.
 
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ARC Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness


Publisher: Viking
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Format: e-ARC
Source: publisher

FIRST LINE
(may differ from final copy)
We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.

Harkness starts Shadow of Night right where her debut, A Discovery of Witches, left off. After falling head over heels in love Diana and Matthew now travel back in time to 16th-century England in search of the Ashmole 782 along with the hope that they will discover more about Diana’s powers. They know they are going to face ridicule and that they will have to tread carefully so that they don’t alert people around them that they are from the future. Unfortunately for Diana, that is not possible and fitting in proves to be harder then Diana thought it would be.

Diana finally gets to meet the notorious School of Night group which includes many historic figures. One in particular, Christopher Marlowe, is hell bent on making Diana’s life miserable (due to the fact that he is in love with Matthew.) Besides trying to find the Ashmole 782, Diana must learn what type of Witch she is and how to harness her magic to get them home. Unfortunately for her, for every new discovery, bigger and more complicated matters emerge.

Matthew is hot-headed as ever and having to bring Diana back to this time in his life has him constantly on edge. He doesn’t want her to discover all the crimes against witches that he committed. Once he finally lets the shield down around his heart he learns to accept that he can’t change the past (even though he and Diana are trying). He now has to focus on the future of him and his bride and their bundle that is on the way.

The reader is taken on a fantastic journey back in time to one of my favorite time periods to read about. Set against the backdrop of Elizabeth I’s reign, Harkness pulls you in with her descriptions on how it was to live back then. I love that Diana had to learn to “fit” in and even though she is a historian, nothing can prepare someone to have to actually live the culture. Diana and Matthew’s characters really start to grow as does their family (including a few street urchins who worm their way into their hearts). Even though at times the writing becomes quite wordy, in the end it was worth reading this amazing voyage that Diana and Matthew embark on and I anxiously await the conclusion of their story.


PURCHASE SHADOW OF NIGHT

PURCHASE A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

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